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Nat Commun. 2020 Feb 11;11(1):561. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-14202-1.

Maternal paraben exposure triggers childhood overweight development.

Author information

1
Department for Environmental Immunology, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research-UFZ, Leipzig, Germany.
2
Department of Dermatology Venerology and Allergology, Leipzig University Medical Center, Leipzig, Germany.
3
Department for Analytical Chemistry, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research-UFZ, Leipzig, Germany.
4
Department for Cell Toxicology, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research-UFZ, Leipzig, Germany.
5
Children's Hospital, Municipal Hospital St. Georg, Leipzig, Germany.
6
Institute of Agriculture and Nutritional Sciences, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Halle (Saale), Germany.
7
Competence Cluster for Nutrition and Cardiovascular Health (nutriCARD) Halle-Jena, Leipzig, Germany.
8
Medical Faculty, Rudolf Schönheimer Institute of Biochemistry, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany.
9
Department Molecular Systems Biology, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research-UFZ, Leipzig, Germany.
10
Environmental Epigenetics and Lung Research Group, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany.
11
Molecular Epidemiology, Berlin Institute of Health (BIH), Berlin, Germany.
12
Faculty of Life Sciences, Institute of Biochemistry, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany.
13
Department for Environmental Immunology, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research-UFZ, Leipzig, Germany. irina.lehmann@charite.de.
14
Environmental Epigenetics and Lung Research Group, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany. irina.lehmann@charite.de.
15
Molecular Epidemiology, Berlin Institute of Health (BIH), Berlin, Germany. irina.lehmann@charite.de.
16
Department for Environmental Immunology, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research-UFZ, Leipzig, Germany. tobias.polte@ufz.de.
17
Department of Dermatology Venerology and Allergology, Leipzig University Medical Center, Leipzig, Germany. tobias.polte@ufz.de.

Abstract

Parabens are preservatives widely used in consumer products including cosmetics and food. Whether low-dose paraben exposure may cause adverse health effects has been discussed controversially in recent years. Here we investigate the effect of prenatal paraben exposure on childhood overweight by combining epidemiological data from a mother-child cohort with experimental approaches. Mothers reporting the use of paraben-containing cosmetic products have elevated urinary paraben concentrations. For butyl paraben (BuP) a positive association is observed to overweight within the first eight years of life with a stronger trend in girls. Consistently, maternal BuP exposure of mice induces a higher food intake and weight gain in female offspring. The effect is accompanied by an epigenetic modification in the neuronal Pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) enhancer 1 leading to a reduced hypothalamic POMC expression. Here we report that maternal paraben exposure may contribute to childhood overweight development by altered POMC-mediated neuronal appetite regulation.

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